When Final Fantasy XIV first launched, it was a bit of a mess. Actually, scratch that. It was a complete and utter disaster -- the kind of half-baked idea spillage so radioactively heinous that we were surprised it didn't trigger a Godzilla attack. Square Enix, however, owned up to its mistakes and gave players a fairly lengthy subscription-fee-free grace period while it hammered the game's salvaged scraps back into shape. Now, though, time's almost up. In anticipation of FFXIV 2.0, Square's bringing back fees on January 6, at a reduced base rate of $9.99 per month. Which is still sort of terrible timing, given the launch date of a certain subscription-based sci-fi to-do with giant glowsticks or some such. Regardless, you've got exactly one month to make up your mind. So, are you willing to forgive and fork over some cash, or are you packing your bags?
To call Final Fantasy XIV's launch "disastrous" might be a bit of an understatement. Hell, we may have even gone with “cataclysmic” if another obscure MMO didn't already have the market cornered on that one. The bottom line? FFXIV was near-universally panned by critics and players alike, with everything from maps to tutorials to its entire questing system ranging from half-baked to a slip of paper with the words “IOU” written on it.
At the very least, however, Square Enix recognizes that its flagship MMO probably shouldn't have set sail as soon as it did, so the publisher's decided to take away its subscription fee entirely until the game's in working order.
“To realize this vision, and in doing so, provide our customers with a better game experience, we have assembled our company's top talent and resources. Taking over the role of producer and director is Naoki Yoshida, a passionate individual for whom customer satisfaction has always taken top priority. We also welcome several new leaders handpicked from other projects to work with the existing talent on Final Fantasy XIV,” reads a post on FFXIV's official site.
“We realize time is of the essence and are fully determined to provide our customers with quality service. It is because of this that we ask our customers to be patient until we are able to confidently present them with a concrete plan outlining Final Fantasy XIV's new direction. The free trial period will be extended until that time.”
Some tips to get you started, Square: keep the brief storyline cut-scenes that pop up once every ten levels or so and get rid of everything else. There, now you already have a whole 30 minutes of worthwhile content! Aren't we helpful?
We don't mean to laugh at your suffering, Final Fantasy XIV fans, but we have to admit that we find this whole situation pretty amusing. See, Square's slammed the brakes on its FFXIV open beta test, which was scheduled to begin on August 31.
“FINAL FANTASY XIV Open Beta Test, which is scheduled to begin at 19:00 (PDT) on Aug. 31, 2010, will be postponed due to a confirmation of critical bugs. New schedule will be released at a later date,” the developer wrote on FFXIV's official site.
So then, why are we conjuring up our hardest Gigglaga at your expense? Well, here's the thing: aren't beta tests all about sniffing out and squashing the daylights out of “critical bugs”? If we were to yank the phony costume mustache off this “beta test” guy, we're pretty sure we'd find our old buddy “glorified free promotional demo” underneath -- as we have with countless other recent "open betas." Can we just start calling these things by their real names already?